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I had an email from a print rep the other day, saying he was coming to town and hoped to meet with me to show off some new samples.

He was shocked when I replied and told him I was no longer buying printing, but was now a copywriter for the web.

We emailed back and forth about some of the changes in the printing industry. He mentioned that the large, highly regarded company where he works had sold off a couple of its large presses and reduced capacity. I told him about my tour last year of an all-digital plant that didn’t have a prepress department, but did have an HP Indigo web press, one of the first installed on the west coast.

Read more of my perspectives on the future of printing →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

When I was a novice print production manager, a few highly experienced print reps took me under their wings and  gave me offset printing crash courses. This on-the-job print education helped me make my agency and our clients look good—and kept my feet from landing in the poop more times than I can count.

Lately I’ve been producing portable trade show displays for my clients, and although I’ve produced them before, I’m finding that the many considerations and materials choices available today make producing these displays quite complex.

If you’re in the young pup stage of this kind of production management, you may find this trade show displays crash course useful.

Read more about print management for trade show displays →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

I recently read an article about technological change written by Martha Beck. She says it’s no longer appropriate to ask, “Is your life on track?” She says that technological and cultural changes are happening so fast that there is no track anymore.

She suggests adopting a new metaphor—a kayak instead of a train—to more nimbly navigate into new, as-yet-uncharted waters.

I love print, I really, really do. I love knowing a process down to its minutia and guiding a project through to great results: A tactile object that’s as good as I can possibly make it, given time and budget constraints. Something real I can hold in my hands, examine, and know that it is beautiful. Something that has a start and a finish.

But the print world I love is changing fast. Over the past few years I’ve monitored the “Is print dead?” conversations as print industry insiders and commentators pondered whether the decline of print was just a part of the economic downturn or a permanent paradigm shift. Whichever it is, it’s not the good old days anymore.

Read more about reinvention →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

Imagine my excitement

A design and strategy firm’s e-newsletter caught my attention this week. It featured an annual report the firm had produced for a client in both print and interactive form.

In describing the project, the strategist’s number one point was, “Print is not dead.” It went on to tout how print’s tangibility effectively supports brand communication.

Print is Still Integral

I am excited to see a design firm pitching the stance I’ve been promoting for over a year: Print is (still!) an important, integral aspect to any brand’s strategy.*

Granted, print design was not where the new business was to be found over the past two recessionary years, and hungry creative firms had to be responsive to what prospective clients were willing to buy.

But I’m happy to see this evidence that the pendulum is swinging back toward design and brand strategy professionals regarding print as a critical brand communication vehicle.

Hot tip

If your design firm has dropped print design from your sales pitch, I suggest that you add it back in—before the other guys beat you to it.

* See my blog articles, Brand Learning Styles and the Place of Printand “…People crave color and texture, the tangible and the real.”

© 2010 Nani Paape

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

In the previous article, I discussed designers’ challenges of maintaining consistent brand color. This topic stirred my curiosity, so I contacted Jim Raffel, a color expert I’d connected with on Twitter, to learn more.

Introducing Jim Raffel, color measurement pro

Jim is co-founder of ColorMetrix Technologies, LLC, a company that develops color verification and process control solutions for the printing and consumer packaged goods industries. Jim explained that these customers adopt color measurement systems to help them deliver consistent color in printed products.

Read more about brand color management →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

I’ve been observing changes in the the traditional logo design process.

Logos are now being developed for web use first—both as static marks and ones that incorporate motion graphics. Secondarily the logo designs are extended to the print medium and two-dimensional uses.

By reversing the more traditional design process order, this new paradigm presents greater complexity and challenges, including accurate translaton of RGB color to Spot or CMYK inks.

Read more about brand color challenges →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story...

The Disappearing Task Force Model

The college I attended liked to create ad hoc committees they called Disappearing Task Forces, or DTFs for short. DTFs came together to complete set tasks, then disbanded. In effect, they disappeared.

I always liked that model: Get together, get it done, go away. Come to think of it, that’s how I work as a by-project print production manager. My solo designer clients and those with small studios tell me they value my fast, thorough work and technical advice. They like skipping all that running around and being freed up to focus on their billable design projects.

Read how this looks in practice →

“Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story...

I’ve conducted more press checks than I can count—small press, large press, digital and conventional, sheet-fed, web, letterpress.

Each has its distinctive peculiarities, but they all have several things in common.

Surprisingly, the secrets to successful press checks are not so much technical as they are cultural.

Over the years I’ve learned that a printing plant is a different world than the one I inhabit the rest of the time, with its own customs and language.

Try these practices at your next press check and see for yourself the difference they will make:

Read more about press checks →

In part three of my interview with Mary Ellen Johnson, McCallum Print Group sales rep, she offers tips on using variable data effectively and sums up the advantages of digital printing.


NP:  How are your customers using variable data most effectively?

Read the final segment of my interview with Mary Ellen… →

In part two of my interview with Mary Ellen Johnson, McCallum Print Group sales rep, she explains the nuts and bolts of digital printing equipment, ink, paper, and prepress, and reveals secrets to successful digital print jobs.

Please note that there are other digital presses in the marketplace, but some information here applies specifically to HP Indigo presses, since that’s the brand of digital equipment Mary Ellen works with.

Read the interview with Mary Ellen… →

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© 2009-2015 Nani Paape & Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material in any form without express and written permission from Nani Paape is strictly prohibited. Are you aggregating my copyrighted content onto your website? If so, it's polite to at least ASK instead of just waltzing off with it. WITH my permission, SHORT excerpts and links may be used, provided that full, clear credit is given to Nani Paape and, with appropriate and specific direction and link(s) to the original content.